Lists of Labor.

I’m now 18 weeks into my pregnancy and I haven’t purchased a thing for the baby. We don’t have anything. We don’t have a stroller, a crib, a highchair, or a car seat. I haven’t even scheduled any birthing classes yet. I haven’t made one list. I don’t have one of those crazy giant sleeping pillows or a body pillow at all. I only just recently picked up some maternity clothing from a Kmart in New Jersey. I have one, borrowed prenatal yoga video and three little baby outfits that my parents sent me. That’s it.

When I first found out I was pregnant (I mean, after the initial shock wore off) I wanted to buy everything I set my eyes on. I saw a woman on Bedford Avenue using this Stokke stroller and I wanted it. (They run a grand. Yikes!) I wanted one of these as well. Even their revolving crib seemed pretty cool. I wanted to pick up outfits, toys, hanging baby carriers – everything.

But people (and authors) caution you in the beginning. “Don’t tell anyone yet and don’t buy anything until you reach that 12th week!” It’s funny; the time I felt the most freaked out and excited and had the most energy coincided with the time I decided it was best to keep my pregnancy hidden.

We’re in our fifth month now and my belly is letting everyone know. I no longer have to keep it secret. I keep telling myself that we have plenty of time to get all of this stuff. But, man! Is time ever going by fast! And the bigger I get, the harder it is to break inertia. We read in a magazine that it’s best to buy things slowly over time and avoid breaking the bank at the end. That was about two months ago. We haven’t purchased a thing. Couples I know who are also pregnant (or were) seem to have it all under control. They have lists, pillows, breast pumps, clothing to wear, classes scheduled. I don’t even know which doctor at the 4-doctor practice will deliver my baby. (Unfortunately, my doctor is no longer delivering babies, which I knew from the get-go, I just like her too much to give her up.) We don’t have anything ready. I don’t know how I’m going to get to the Upper East Side when that day finally comes. And what does it feel like to have one’s water break? What does it look like? Does it smell? What color is it? What if it takes place in our awesome new bed? Do I have to sleep in the floor for the last couple of weeks? These questions, and hundreds more, are questions that keep me from thinking too much about what I need to do and know before I pop in late July, early August. There are just too many unanswered questions, too many choices. So why bother thinking about it at all?

I set my mind at ease over the weekend suggesting that we won’t even think about buying anything until we find out the sex of the baby (which should happen on the 12th assuming little dude doesn’t have his or her legs crossed again). That’s when I’ll break inertia. That’s when we’ll start to buy stuff. That’s when we’ll start getting his or her room ready. That’s when everything will fall in place and all my questions will be answered, right? Am I right?

Yeah, right.


  1. Even if you do end up spending more money than you would like on things that will make your life easier, such as that stroller (and might I add it looks like a nice city-friendly size, although it appears to be only for infants), keep in mind that future resale will allow you to recover some of your cash outlays.


  2. Hopefully, you’ll get a lot of the things you need at the baby showers (do people still do those). I’d bet that several of your regular readers would even go so far as to get you a shower gift if there was a link to a gift registery or some such thing.

    You could even email the boyfriend of the woman that kept sending you emails about the surprise birthday party to request a gift from them .


  3. you should just wrap your bed (or your body) in plastic wrap when you’re getting close. just in case you’re in bed when your water breaks.


  4. yeah, yeah, baby shower! i’ll come to town for that one. and get one of those mattress covers for bedwetters…


  5. You should totally set up a registry. Like on or something, so you can register for all sorts of goodies for the baby in one place.

    Also, I don’t know how you feel about eBay, but that might be another option? You can get great deals on brand new never been used overstock type stuff there, I’ve found.

    I’m bummed out that Sam & Seb on Bedford has closed. That was my favorite place to buy baby gifts for friends. Oh, how I love buying baby things. :)


  6. and then, there’s always online shopping- the best of inertia and consumerism combined.


  7. Jen, I know! That shop ruled. I got my niece a gift there, it was a toy by the name of Toby.

    We are going to have a shower. My mom and her amazingly crazy and awesome aunts (seen here) are going to throw one I bet. However, there are now three new babies being born in August in our family, so who knows.

    So, this water breaking thing is an actual situation that one must pay attention to, right? So I should wear adult diapers to bed as I’m nearing the end. While birth is awesome and all and I am super excited about the baby, I don’t want to ruin our awesome bed. :] So, I’ll do whatever, even if that means sleeping on the couch in a diaper. (I say that now…)


  8. About the water breaking: it doesn’t always break before labor starts…or at least the 2nd stage, aka the “real” painful labor. (Do you know about the various stages of labor?) Mine didn’t break until I was in the hospital, well into labor, and I think that is fairly common. And it’s not like some water-balloon explosion, like you see on TV. More like a trickle, like you started to pee. Anyway, it’s probably the least of your worries.

    About the doctors: usually in practices with several doctors it is impossible to say who is going to deliver your baby, if you are having it naturally – and not scheduled, like a cesarean. I guess the important thing is that you like all of your doctors. Also, find out if they use midwives. I’m not sure if it is the same in the US as in Spain, but for most of my labor – in fact, until the very very very end when the baby’s head was visible – I had a midwife helping me. The ob-gyn only did the actual delivery – literally.


  9. Oh, and I have some suggestions about the shopping/stuff-to-buy as well, but I guess I should just email you so as not to bore everyone with some huge comment about baby stuff. I need to respond anyway ;)


  10. Thanks, Lowy. yeah, the whole water breakage thing has had me perplexed a wee bit. No one really talks about it too much, which either leads me to believe I am a really crude, raunchy gal, bringing it up at all and it is, in fact, a little gross, or it’s not a big deal at all (which is what you suggested). I do hope it’s the latter. I don’t like to be considered raunchy all the time. (Although, I am pretty damn gross. Just ask my husband. I tend to censor myself on here believe it or not.)

    I just looked at my packet from Cornell Medical and there are apparently 6 doctors (all women) and, you’re right, I am not guaranteed one over the other, but I am guaranteed that one of the six will deliver the baby. They have a meet the doctor’s night each month so that women can meet all of them should they get a doctor on call other than their own. I will attend one of those as well as one of their 10-hour birthing classes and the breast feeding one.

    That makes me feel a little bit more organized, snail’s pace, but still. :]


  11. Lowy, feel free to leave long comments about baby stuff here. I could use the information and, to be honest, I rather like the free info the Web has brought along with it. I get searches for this type of thing constantly and it’s always nice to know that people look for “normal” things online, that it’s not always about disgusting stuff.

    But if it’s too personal, then Email TOTALLY works. :] up to you.


  12. Don’t panic over the gear! You really won’t use a lot of it (like high chairs) until the baby is older anyway so it would just be taking up space. Plus, you’ll be surprised how much you get closer to the actual due date. Simone’s crib came down this weekend and is reading to come to Brooklyn:)

    My one suggestion to all my first time mom friends is to go test drive strollers! Buy Buy Baby will let you roll them around the store, practice folding, etc. I have had so many friends buy really expensive strollers and end up ditching them in no time. They are too heavy to carry up the stairs, take up too much space, are hard to get in and out of cars, taxis, etc. Remember you have to carry it up 3 flights of steps! My first stroller was over 30 lbs and took up the whole trunk of the car. We never used it. We ended up buying a Maclaren umbrella stroller instead. We are still using it for Shep. We got the snap and go car seat holder for when he was a tiny baby. It is just a frame that holds the car seat so it doesn’t weigh a lot or take up much room. Worked great.


  13. I totally saw Maclaren this weekend. So super small and it looks to be lightweight! I will totally try that one out. Good idea, Mel!

    There is a new store in our hood called “Mini Jake”. They seem awesome. I will hit them up to test drive. They might even let me borrow a baby or two. ;]

    That’s another thing, we went to a shower yesterday for a three week old baby. I have no idea the stages. I will have to buy a book or start asking a LOT of questions. How often do you feed? When do the move to solids? Do you do breast milk AND regular milk? What’s all this talk about nipple cream? And should we order some Boudreux’s Buttpaste?


  14. Remember, I have an employee discount on some of the best baby gear in the world (strollers, swings, monitors, etc), and I can order online and have stuff shipped to you.

    The one item that Kerry and I loved that my company doesn’t make is the Prince Lionheart baby wipes warmer. Nothing is nastier than slapping your baby’s dirty bum/nether regions with an icy cold wipe. We had two (one each for Owen and Pippy when they were both in diapers). The Diaper Genie was also a great way to take care of disposable diapers (are you going disposable or cloth)?

    Stuff you’ll need/use from almost the beginning:

    1. Breast Pump (worth buying used if this will be your only child)

    2. Diaper pail (or a diaper genie)

    3. Bassinet or crib

    4. Car seat

    5. Stroller (this can be combined with #4)

    6. Onesies/outfits

    7. Receiving blankets

    8. Spit-up rags

    9. Changing table/pad—someplace soft and safe to change diapers.


  15. I actually order our Maclarens from a place somewhere in the NY area. Here is their website: The great thing about them is that they sell last year’s fabric styles at a discount. Who cares if the fabric is the 2006 or 2007 print? You still get the full warrenty on the stroller too.


  16. Hey, about the whole car seat/stroller combo I have heard (and seen) that this hasn’t been worked out quite well yet. Is that true? I have heard that while the car seat part might work well, the stroller part is a mess and really hard to use.

    Anyone know of any combos that aren’t total crap?

    Oh, and Mel, we’re totally not into spending a fortune if we don’t need to. That said, i don’t care if I have to use a breast pump circa 1973.


  17. We had the stroller/car seat combo (they call them travel systems). It was terrible. That is the heavy huge stroller we got rid of. You do need the infant seat. Graco’s snug ride always gets good reviews on Consumer Reports. They sell the frames that these snap into. Here is the maclaren version Other people make them that are a little cheaper. We loved this option. The frames are light and don’t take up much space when stored. Most will work with any car seat.


  18. You guys are pretty much in the same boat as us. I haven’t scheduled any classes and we haven’t bought anything other than a crib yet. The only reason I bought the crib is because I found it online for 50% off and just couldn’t pass up such an amazing deal. We aren’t going to buy anything until after we find out the sex of the baby which (hopefully) is on March 13th. Not that we’re into the whole pink vs blue decorating, but the first thing on the list if it’s a boy is a pee-pee tee-pee. Just because my mom told me horror stories about diapering my brothers.

    I’ve heard it’s every first parents feeling of being totally unprepared. You have this tiny baby and don’t know how to take care of it, but the doctors send you home with it and you just have to wing it a little. I’ve barely been around babies. I haven’t even held a baby for at least 7 years! Talk about intimidating :)


  19. I have a lot of pent up advice, but I’ll try to stick to a single topic. I would recommend against buying anything for breastfeeding until you attend the breastfeeding class. They may have some good recommendations and may even give you discounts on purchases or rentals. Also, it’s worth noting that breastfeeding doesn’t work out for everyone and you may not want to invest in an expensive pump right away. Since you plan on being home with the baby you may not need anything fancy. I was home with both of my kids while they nursed for over a year and only used a manual pump for some backup milk or to pump off the occasional glass of wine. The hospital even supplied a free manual pump. You may or may not need breast pads or cream. I used some pads the first week & then not again until I weaned my kids. I never really needed cream, but it probably depends on how well the baby is latched on & how sensitive you are. Babies drink formula or breastmilk for the first year. Then they can switch to whole milk until they are 2. Solids are recommended around 6 months, but I know a lot of people who started sooner than that.
    I would also recommend a waterproof matress pad for your awesome new bed. They aren’t made of rubber or anything uncomfortable like that anymore. They feel like regular material. Not only will it save you any worries about your water breaking(mine was broken by the doctor during labor both times), but it will protect your bed from leaking milk, etc. after you give birth. Plus, if you plan to ever have the baby on the bed with you there numerous things you’ll want to save your mattress from!


  20. If you need good information about child seats and proper installation, take a look at this site (has videos too). It was developed as part of a project I work on with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, called Partners for Child Passenger Safety. It’s also available in Spanish if that is your preference.


  21. I would recommend against buying anything for breastfeeding until you attend the breastfeeding class.

    I am taking a class. Wise advice! Thank you.

    Also, I heard that it doesn’t work for some and will probably try the manual one at first and hope that it works. I, too, would like to have some backups from time to time for the occasional glass of wine. You speak my language!

    Thanks, StFarmer, for the link. I’ll check it out.


  22. Hey Michele,

    Agreed about the breast pump. See if everything works out. I bought the Madela duo and realized that it had a design flaw. If you wanted to pump both breasts at a time you had to turn it on and off with your foot. I hear the ISIS IQ is supposed to be great because the controls are on the actual hand pump.

    My recommendations for gear:

    mini-co sleeper. It is a side car for the bed if you choose to have the baby room with you for a while if nursing. It is also free standing so it is great as a small new york apartment crib. It has storage under the bed too so it worked out great for us.

    I used olive oil instead of that breast cream while breast feeding and have all of these pads (you are welcome to them) but never needed them. With your breasts, take them.

    cloth diapers for burb cloths.
    baby bjorn with lumbar support. I could never do the sling but other people LOVE the sling.

    August so you need some short sleeve side snap shirts. It was so hot when we had Grace that is what she was in without pants until september. I had a ton of clothes that she never wore because it was too hot.

    receiving blankets – the waffle kind that are stretchy because they really work when you are swaddling.

    Personally, I tried buy buy baby but the A types there drove me from that store for good. I follow up off line with anything else that comes to mind.


  23. babies need too much crap! I say, strap it to your back and go. papoose it.


  24. So much to say and so little time to say it when your 6 month old is begging for attention.
    So I will be brief….
    Check out the Baby Bargains book.

    It can give you the lowdown on what to get and it rates things as well. That book really helped us tons when we had Isabel.

    Also check out the Baby book by Dr. Sears. He is considered to be this generation’s Dr. Spock.

    As far as the water breaking…Mine was broken at the hospital when I had Isabel but mine broke at home when I had Aubrey. I was sitting on the couch too! I didn’t leak onto the couch but thanks to this site:
    it really helped me figure out if that was what was happening. It sounds weird to consult a web page when it was happening but I hadn’t gone into labor with Isabel so I didn’t know what to expect.
    Also with the feeding most breastfeed at least 6 weeks but it is best if you can do it a year. Just so you know breastfeeding can be VERY difficult at first. So don’t get discouraged if things don’t go as well as planned the first time. And since you are allergic to different food you must be particularly careful about the order the type of food you give the baby when it comes to eating solids…but that is for another time.
    If I think of more I will let you know!


  25. I have no babies, so I can’t recommend any baby gear. But I am all for a baby registry. What good is the internet if it can’t send you presents?


  26. Lots of good advice on here!

    Regarding the water breaking-mine broke while I was in bed, I had stacked lots of towels on the mattress underneath me to protect it, but I was wearing a regular pad at the time, and it absorbed just fine. So near your due date-you may want to consider wearing pads (which means you can’t go mihow!) to absorb leaking water, if your water breaks early. It does feel like you are going pee, but can’t really stop the flow. It wasn’t a gush on the floor like they do on tv!


  27. Wendy, thank you so much for that information. :] See, now this is why I have a blog! You people are filled with awesome info!


  28. Not that I am in any way, shape, or form, a baby expert, but I know more women who went into labor before their water broke and had to have it broken for them at the hospital. Also, do you know what that sucker is yet? I have a hilarious sexually-themed onesie to make!


  29. hey michele,
    just coming off a long conversation with my mom who just spent a week with my pregnant sister (who is expecting her second baby girl in 2 months) in TN—they are all about baby consignment sales. not sure if NY has them but apparently they are all over TN. anyways, they got a TON of great stuff for both my 2 year old niece and the new baby for super cheap. now, i’m sure you don’t want to get everything there but it is an option you could look into for some really cheap baby stuff like onesies and maybe some barely used toys, given that kids’ toy-related desires change so frequently.
    also: my old boss raved about the baby sling he used with his daughter and my sister just picked up two. so that might be another alternative to carrying the baby around nyc, aside from the carriage and the baby bjorn, which is so freaking complicated and i think my sister used it like 5 times with my niece when she was little.
    just my two cents!


  30. Meredith, do you know who makes the sling(s)? I looked a bit last night over at Amazon and I got a little overwhelmed. That seems to be the case a lot lately.

    You’re the second person who suggested consignment. However, I’m not sure where in NYC they might exist. I’ll do some research for sure.

    In other news: I think we’re going to build one of these registry things, although, I have to admit, it makes me feel a little dirty. As soon as we figure out what we need and who we need it for, I’ll put it on the sidebar somewhere.


  31. My boss had really liked the Maya Wrap,, but he’s a total ex-hippie so do with that what you will. Not sure what my sister got and she won’t know if she even likes them for a couple months.
    You should totally make a registry. It’s just like with getting married – people don’t know what you want/need so if you give them ideas, they’re better suited to get you something close and that way you have less returns to make after the shower.
    Babies are just one of those things that you won’t know what you’re doing until he/she arrives, despite all the advice. That’s part of the fun? Maybe? :)


  32. When you set up the registery, find out if there is a way for multiple people to contribute to the cost of a large ticket item. I doubt that you’ll get a minivan with that strategy but maybe a nice crib.

    I’m glad you are looking into the idea. I just think there are people that read your blog all the time who would like to do something nice for you.


  33. Seriously, (and you’d probably see just how much I mean this if I posted a video stating as much (which I might just do) that really means a lot to me, StFarmer. Even just writing it means a lot to me. I’m emotional today. Or something. Felt the baby’s first kick! Before, I thought I did but I’m convinced now that I was just feeling little gut rumbles. But this morning, it was clear as day. I have a living creature in there.

    Also, I am constantly amazed at how kind human beings are. Every time I get all disgruntled and ticked off, I see someone do something entirely too king and I’m immediately hushed and humbled.

    Thanks for even writing that down.


  34. Some random thoughts…

    Amazon is totally overwhelming. I would suggest instead. The store is pretty good – it doesn’t have the greatest selection for all kinds of items (books and clothes in particular) – but it does have a comment thing like Amazon. They have a registry as well. And it is also a great site for information. You can sign up for a weekly newsletter that tracks your progress week-by-week and offers links to articles relevant for that week. The newsletters then continue into when your baby is born. It really is, I think, the most comprehensive baby site.

    Also other sites to check out (if you haven’t already) would be (which is new, kind of trendy, from the people of Nerve) and (a comprehensive guide to slings).

    As far as information goes, you could really probably rely only on But I also found What To Expect… useful. I know alot of people have problems with it but it will answer many of your questions. It’s the kind of book you don’t have to read straight through (unless you want to) but can dip into when needed. I also liked The Birth Book and The Breastfeeding Book by Dr Sears. And for a baby book, What To Expect the First Year is good reference (again), but I’m finding Your Baby & Child by Penelope Leach to be excellent and more comprehensive (and interesting) about a child’s emotional and psychological development.

    I agree with what has been said about breastfeeding, every person’s experience is different. That said, you will obviously need to buy some nursing bras – wait until the last possible moment for that, since you don’t want to buy one too small. It would probably be good to have a supply of pads (you can get cotton ones to wash and re-use) and cream – the best is supposedly called Lanosin (or something like that) and it actually pure lanolin, like a very stiff vaseline. That kind of stuff isn’t very expensive but the nursing bras are surprisingly expensive. I bought some at H&M and some from a site called

    The things that no one has mentioned so far, in terms of gear, that have been indispensible for me during my daughter’s first months:
    -a baby seat or bouncy seat
    -a rocking chair or some variation thereof
    -a changing pad, which will mostly likely come in a diaper bag if you get one
    -a baby bathtub or support to be used in the regular bathtub
    -a mobile

    If you head to State College anytime in the next few months there is supposedly a very good consignment store called Kids to Kids (on N. Atherton st going towards Boalsburg).

    As far as timing goes, you still have plenty of time but don’t wait too long…you have no idea what inertia means until you are 7 or 8 months pregnant and it is 90-100 degrees out!! You will probably not feel like doing anything except eating ice cream and watching bad TV.

    Oh, and slings. I bought the Baby Bjorn initially, but when the baby is really small it’s not that great. I also bought a Hotsling, which is supposedly really simple to put on and use, but I couldn’t figure it out until after I had shrunk it in the wash and couldn’t use it. And then I bought a Moby Wrap, and it was too cumbersome to use outside but worked well inside.


  35. y’all are the absolute best. I should be sending you all presents via a “Cool Person Registry”. Such awesome information.

    Last night, Tobyjoe were sitting around using this site as a reference, thanks to all of your wonderful comments. I really mean that. We were searching the archives to find out more about GDiapers (which I think Gina brought up months ago). And now this has been super useful. I can’t thank you enough. I really can’t.


  36. Mihow, have you seen this list of the top 10 most ridiculous baby products? You’ve got to see these…but not buy, please! ;)


  37. Holy crap, the Baby Toupee is absurd!


  38. Hi Michele – melhow suggested I check out your exciting news. Congrats! I received a compilation email on cloth vs. non-cloth diapers from this week. I am forwarding that to you via email. Some good info on sources for cloth diapers that you might find helpful. As for strollers, I wish I had gone the snap n go route for the first few months. Finally, you’ll get most of what you need from family and friends. Everything else you can buy off craigslist. Best of luck!


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